Scoil Íde COVID-19 Response Plan
August 25th, 2021
This Covid-19 Response Plan is designed to minimise the risk of COVID-19 for staff, pupils, families and the wider community while recognising the importance of education for the health and wellbeing of pupils and society as a whole..
The Covid-19 Response Plan details the policies and practices necessary for our school to meet the Government’s ‘Return to Work Safely Protocol’, the Department of Education and Skills plan for school reopening and to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in the school environment. The plan incorporates current advice about measures to reduce the spread of Covid-19 in the community issued by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET). As the advice issued by NPHET continues to evolve, this protocol and the measures management and staff need to address may also change.
Scoil Íde’s Response Plan is supported by the public health advice provided by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) for the safe reopening of schools and educational facilities. That report is available here. (file:///C:/Users/princ/Downloads/78748_8796d60e-790e-4007-add1-de18e509a3c1.pdf)
The Response Plan will support the sustainable reopening of our school where the overriding objective is to protect the health of staff and pupils while promoting the educational and development needs of the children in the school.
The COVID-19 response plan is a living document and will be updated in line with the public health advice as appropriate for primary and special schools. It may be reviewed and amended to take into account new guidance from www.Gov.ie, www.dbei.ie , www.hse.ie, www.hpsc.ie, www.hsa.ie; www.education.ie or agreements with education partners as appropriate for primary schools.
In line with the Work Safely Protocol, the key to maintaining a safe school requires strong communication and a shared collaborative approach between the BOM, staff, pupils and parents.
The assistance and cooperation of all staff, pupils, parents, contractors and visitors is critical to the continued success of the plan.
Scoil Íde COVID-19 Policy Statement
Scoil Íde is committed to providing a safe and healthy workplace for all our staff and a safe learning environment for all our pupils. To ensure that, we have developed and updated the following COVID-19 Response Plan. The BOM and all school staff are responsible for the implementation of this plan and a combined effort will help contain the spread of the virus.
- continue to monitor our COVID-19 response and amend this plan in consultation with our staff
- provide up to date information to our staff and pupils on the Public Health advice issued by the HSE and Gov.ie
- display information on the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and correct handwashing techniques
- agree with staff, a worker representative who is easily identifiable to carry out the role outlined in this plan
- inform all staff and pupils of essential hygiene and respiratory etiquette and physical distancing requirements
- adapt the school to facilitate physical distancing as appropriate in line with the guidance and direction of the Department of Education
- keep a contact log to help with contact tracing ensure staff engage with the induction / familiarisation briefing provided by the Department of Education
- implement the agreed procedures to be followed in the event of someone showing symptoms of COVID-19 while at school
- provide instructions for staff and pupils to follow if they develop signs and symptoms of COVID-19 during school time
- implement cleaning in line with Department of Education advice
All school staff will be consulted on an ongoing basis and feedback is encouraged on any concerns, issues or suggestions.
This can be done through the Lead Worker Representative(s), who will be supported in line with the agreement between the Department and education partners.
Signed: Maureen Hobbins Date: 25/08/21
Signed: Ray D’Arcy Date: 25/08/21
Reviewing the safe operation of Scoil Íde
School management have reviewed our current processes to ensure that they include the following:
- Arrangements to keep up to date with public health advice, changes to and Department of Education updates;
- Arrangements to pass on this information in a timely manner to staff, pupils, parents and others as required;
- Ensured that staff have reviewed the training materials provided by the Department of Education
- Provided staff with access to the Return to Work (RTW) form
- Identified a Lead Worker representative
- Displayed posters and other signage to prevent introduction and spread of COVID-19
- Made the necessary changes to the school or classroom layout if necessary to support the redesign of classrooms to support physical distancingRemoved unnecessary clutter to facilitate ongoing cleaning of the school taking into account the importance of having educational materials to create a stimulating learning environment;
- Updated the health and safety risk assessment
- Made necessary arrangements to limit access to the school to necessary visitors and maintain records of contacts to the school
- Reviewed the school buildings to check the following after any period of closure:
- Does the water system need flushing at outlets following low usage to prevent Legionella disease;
- Has school equipment and mechanical ventilation been checked for signs of deterioration or damage before being used again;
- Have bin collections and other essential services resumed.
Please follow https://www.education.ie/en/ for updates.
Induction Training (to be completed by new staff)
All new staff will undertake and complete Covid-19 Induction Training prior to returning to the school building. The aim of such training is to ensure that staff have full knowledge and understanding of the following:
Latest up to-date advice and guidance on public health;
What to do if a staff member or pupil develops symptoms of Covid-19 while at school; Outline of the Covid-19 response plan.
Staff will be kept fully informed of the control measures in place in the school and their duties and responsibilities in preventing the spread of Covid-19 and will be updated with any changes to the control measures or guidance available from the public health authorities.
If a staff member is unsure about any aspect of the COVID-19 Response Plan, the associated control measures, or his/her duties, he/she should immediately seek guidance from the Principal, who is supported in this role by the BOM.
Deputy Principal, Tom Hartney will explain all measures to any substitute teachers who work in the school and provide them with the most recent version of Scoil Íde's COVID-19 Response Plan.
Procedure for Returning to Work (RTW)
In order to return to the workplace, staff must complete a Return to Work (RTW) form, which is available online from the principal. A copy is attached also at Appendix 1
A RTW form should be completed and returned to the school before returning to work. Schools should request staff to confirm that the details in the Return to Work Form remain unchanged following subsequent periods of closure such as school holidays.
The principal will also provide details of the Induction Training for completion by new staff and details of any additional health and safety measures in place in the school to facilitate the staff member’s return to the school facility.
Details of the working arrangements that apply to the very high risk school staff, is in accordance with those applying for the public service generally, and is detailed in the relevant Department of Education circulars available on the Department’s website.
Health and Safety Officer:
Principal : Ray D’Arcy
Lead Worker Representative:
Aidan Hennessy has been appointed as Scoil Íde’s LWR
Assistant Lead Worker Representatives: Ciara Breen, Deirdre O’ Loughlin
Responsibility for the development and implementation of the COVID-19 Response Plan and the associated control measures lies primarily with the Board of Management and the School Leadership.
The Return to Work Safely protocol provides for an agreed procedure between management and staff to appoint a Lead Worker Representative to carry out a specific role.
In summary, the role of the LWR is to: :
- Represent all staff in the workplace regardless of role, and be aware of specific issues that may arise in respect of different staff cohorts;
- Work collaboratively with school management to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the safety, health and welfare of employees in relation to COVID-19;
- Keep up to date with the latest COVID-19 public health advice;
- In conjunction with school management, promote good hygiene practices such as washing hands regularly and maintaining good respiratory etiquette along with maintaining social distancing in accordance with public health advice;
- Assist school management with implementing infection prevention control measures to suppress COVID-19 in the workplace in line with the Work Safely Protocol and current public health advice;
- In conjunction with school management, monitor adherence to measures put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19;
- Conduct regular reviews of safety measures;
- Report any issues of concern immediately to school management and keep records of such issues and actions taken to rectify them;
- Consult with the school management on the school’s COVID-19 Response Plan in the event of someone developing COVID-19 while in school including the location of an isolation area and a safe route to that area;
- Following any incident, assess with the school management any follow up action that is required;
- Consult with colleagues on matters relating to COVID-19 in the workplace;
- Make representations to school management on behalf of their colleagues on matters relating to COVID-19 in the workplace.
- The role of the Assistant LWRs will be to: assist the LWR in their duties as set out above; and deputise as LWR where the LWR is absent
Lead worker Representative
Assistant Lead worker Representative
Assistant Lead worker Representative
Deirdre O’ Loughlin
Strong communication and a shared collaborative approach is key to protecting against the spread of COVID-19 in schools, and looking after the health, safety and wellbeing of staff and pupils. Adherence to the Work Safely Protocol will only be achieved if everyone has a shared responsibility in implementing the measures contained within the Protocol in their place of work.
If a staff member has any concerns or observations in relation to the COVID-19 Response Plan, control measures or the adherence to such measures by staff, pupils or others he/she should contact the lead worker(s) who will engage with the principal/BOM.
Scoil Íde has signage on display outlining the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and to support good hand and respiratory hygiene.
Signage is on display in prominent areas such as offices, corridors, staffroom area, classrooms and toilets.
Making Changes to School Layout
Scoil Íde has reconfigured classrooms and other areas as necessary to support physical distancing in line with the guidance as far as practicable.
Health and Safety Risk Assessment
School Management have reviewed emergency procedures involving fire safety, first aid, accidents and dangerous occurrences to consider any new risks that arise due to the school’s COVID-19 Response Plan.
Any changes to the school's existing emergency procedures are documented and in the school’s safety statement. Management also reviewed the existing risk assessments to consider any new risks that arise due to the school’s COVID-19 Response Plan.
First Aid/Emergency Procedure
The standard First Aid/emergency procedure shall continue to apply in schools. In an emergency or in case of a serious incident, schools should call for an ambulance or the fire brigade on 112/999 giving details of location and type of medical incident
Infection Prevention Control Measures - To prevent Introduction and Spread of COVID-19 in Schools
One of the key messages to manage the risks of COVID-19 is to do everything practical to avoid the introduction of COVID-19 into the school. If infection is not introduced it cannot be spread. The risk of spreading the infection once introduced exists in all interpersonal interactions; pupil-pupil, teacher-teacher and teacher- pupil and must be managed in all settings.
A range of essential control measures have been implemented to reduce the risk of the spread of Covid-19 virus and to protect the safety, health and welfare of staff, pupils, parents and visitors as far as possible within the school. The control measures shall continue to be reviewed and updated as required on an ongoing basis.
It is critical that staff, pupils, parents and visitors are aware of, and adhere to, the control measures outlined and that they fully cooperate with all health and safety requirements.
The best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in a workplace or any setting is to practice physical distancing, adopt proper hand hygiene, follow respiratory etiquette and increase ventilation.
Staff should note that they have a legal obligation under Section 13 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 to comply with health and safety requirements and to take reasonable care for the health and safety of themselves, their colleagues and other parties within the workplace.
How to Minimise the Risk of Introduction of COVID-19 into Schools:
School management will:
- promote awareness of COVID-19 symptoms
- Advise staff and pupils that have symptoms not to attend school, to phone their doctor and to follow HSE guidance on self-isolation;
- Advise staff and pupils to self-isolate or restrict their movements at home if they display any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 and contact their family doctor to arrange a test
- Advise staff and pupils, to follow the HSE advice if they are a close contact of a suspected/ confirmed case of Covid-19.
- If they have travelled outside of Ireland; in such instances staff and pupils are advised to consult and follow latest Government advice in relation to foreign travel.
- Advise staff and pupils that develop symptoms at school to bring this to the attention of the Principal promptly;
- Ensure that staff and pupils know the protocol for managing a suspected case of COVID-19 in school
- Advise staff and pupils to cooperate with any public health officials and the school for contact tracing purposes and follow any public health advice in the event of a case or outbreak in the school;
- Everyone entering the school building needs to perform hand hygiene with a hand sanitiser;
- Visitors to the school during the day should be by prior arrangement and should be received at a specific contact point;
- Physical distancing (of 2m) should be maintained between staff and visitors where possible.
Symptoms of COVID-19
In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 it is important to know and recognise the symptoms of coronavirus (which includes the DELTA variant).
No member of the school community can come to school if they display any Covid-19 Symptoms, available here: https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/symptoms.html
Common symptoms of COVID-19
Other Uncommon symptoms of COVID-19
Fever (38° +)
Shortness of breath
Runny/ stuffy nose
Loss/ change of smell/ taste
School management and staff will keep themselves up to date on Public Health information as this can be updated on a regular basis..
The school community will be informed of good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or your bent elbow when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately and safely into a nearby bin. By following good respiratory hygiene, you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and Covid-19.
Staff and pupils should understand why hand hygiene is important as well as when and how to wash their hands. Staff will promote good hygiene and display posters throughout the schools on how to wash your hands.
- Hand hygiene will be achieved by hand washing or use of a hand sanitiser (when hands look clean).
- Use of hand hygiene facilities including wash hand basins will be managed so as to avoid the congregation of pupils and staff waiting to use wash hand basins and hand sanitisers.
- Children will use washing facilities after activities that are likely to soil hands, for example playing outside or certain sporting activities as hand sanitiser does not work on dirty hands.
- Hand sanitiser dispensers are deployed at exit and entry points of schools and classrooms and care should be taken to clean up any hand sanitiser spills to prevent risks of falls.
- Classrooms are supplied with a soap that emulsifies easily in cold water should
- Wash hand basins, running water, liquid soap and hand drying facilities are provided in all toilets, kitchens and any food preparation areas.
- Hand washing facilities will be maintained in good condition and supplies of soap and towels will be topped up regularly to encourage everyone to use them.
- Hand sanitiser is suitable for use for hand hygiene when hands are not visibly soiled (look clean).
- Care will be taken to ensure that pupils do not ingest hand rubs/gels as they are flammable and toxic.
- Alcohol-based sanitiser will not be stored or used near heat or naked flame
- Young children should not have independent use of containers of alcohol gel
- Hand sanitisers for use against COVID-19 will contain a minimum of 60% alcohol..
Frequency of Hand Hygiene
Pupils and staff will perform hand hygiene:
On arrival at school;
Before eating or drinking
After using the toilet
After playing outdoors
When their hands are physically dirty
When they cough or sneeze
Physical distancing will be applied in a practical way to recognise that the learning environment cannot be dominated by a potentially counterproductive focus on this issue. Physical distancing will look different across the various ages and stages of learning.
Our Response Plan also recognises that it is not always possible for staff to maintain physical distance from pupils and it is not appropriate that they would always be expected to do so where this could have a detrimental impact on the pupil i.e. if a child sustains an injury and requires first aid. However, where possible staff will maintain a minimum of 1m distance and where possible 2m. Staff will also take measures to avoid close contact at face to face level such as remaining standing rather than sitting beside/crouching down.
Physical distancing falls into two categories:
Increasing separation & Decreasing interaction
To maintain physical distancing in the classroom, we have
1: Reconfigured class spaces to maximise physical distancing
2. Utilised and reconfigured all available space in the school in order to maximise physical distancing
A common-sense approach to the extent to which decreasing interaction is possible in a primary is required.
We will endeavour to maintain a distance of 1m between desks or between individual pupils. It is recognised that younger children are unlikely to maintain physical distancing indoors.
Where possible work stations will be allocated consistently to the same staff and children rather than having spaces which are shared.
The risk of infection will be reduced by structuring pupils and their teachers into Class Bubbles (i.e. a class grouping which stays apart from other classes as much as possible) and discrete groups or “Pods” within those class bubbles, to the extent that this is practical.
Teachers will endeavour to maintain at least (1m distance) between individual Pods within the Class Bubble and between individuals in the pod, whenever possible. Generally speaking the objective is to limit contact and sharing of common facilities between people in different Class Bubbles (and Pods within those Class Bubbles) as much as possible, rather than to avoid all contact between Pods, as the latter will not always be possible.
The aim of the system within the school is that class groupings mix only with their own class from arrival at school in the morning until departure at the end of the school day. The Pods within those Class Bubbles is an additional measure, to limit the extent of close contact within the Class Bubble.
Pod sizes will be kept as small as is likely to be reasonably practical in the specific classroom context.
To the greatest extent possible, pupils and teaching staff will consistently be in the same Class Bubbles although this will not be possible at all times.
Different Class years will have separate areas at break.
Sharing educational material between Pods will be avoided/minimised where possible.
Staff members who move from class bubble to class bubble will be limited as much as possible.
Additional measures to decrease interaction include:
We will endeavour to limit interaction on arrival and departure and in hallways and other shared areas.
Social physical contact (hand to hand greetings, hugs) will be discouraged.
Where pupils need to move about within the classroom to perform activities (access to a shared resource) it will be organized to the greatest degree possible to minimize congregation at the shared resource.
Staff and pupils will avoid the sharing of personal items.
Pupils will be encouraged to avoid behaviours that involve hand to mouth contact (putting pens/pencils in the mouth).
Where teaching and learning involves use of keyboards or tablets, the contact surface of the device will be cleaned regularly and hand hygiene encouraged.
Physical Distancing outside of the classroom and within the school School drop off/collection
Arrangements for dropping off/collecting pupils should be arranged to encourage physical distancing of 2m where possible.
Walking/cycling to school will be encouraged as much as possible.
Arrangements should be made to maintain as much distance between parents and guardians and between parents and guardians and school staff as possible.
Aim of any arrangements is to avoid congregations of people at the school gates where physical distancing may not be respected.
Staggered drop off/pick up times are in place. Additional and assigned access points will be used to reduce congestion.
Pupils will head straight to their small group designated learning space/classroom on arrival at Scoil Íde post 08:40.
A distance of 2m is recommended for physical distancing by staff.
If 2m cannot be maintained in staff groups, as much as distance as is possible and updated guidance on face covering should be observed.
Physical distancing will be observed between staff members within the staff room through the use of staggered breaks etc.
Staff meetings will be held remotely or in small groups or in large spaces to facilitate physical distancing.
We will implement a no hand shaking policy.
Staff are aware of the need to minimise gathering of school staff at the beginning or end of the school day. Staff can rotate between areas/classes but this will be minimized where possible.
Corridors and Stairwells
Briefly passing someone in a hall is very unlikely to contribute significantly to the spread of infection if people do not have physical contact and avoid informal group discussions.
The risk of transmission from contact with outside surfaces or play areas is low.
Scoil Íde has adjusted play time/outdoor activities to minimise crowding at the entrance and exits. It is not possible to maintain physical distance when pupils play together outdoors, but in so far as practical we will endeavour to keep to consistent groups.
We will stagger break times and outdoor access.
Children will be encouraged to perform hand hygiene before and after outdoor activities.
Staff will ensure that there is minimal if any equipment sharing and will clean shared equipment between uses by different people.
Ventilation The Department has published guidance setting out the practical steps for good ventilation in accordance with public health advice ‘Practical Steps for the Deployment of Good Ventilation Practices in Schools’ The guidance sets out an overall approach for schools that windows should be open as fully as possible when classrooms are not in use (e.g. during break-times or lunch-times (assuming not in use) and also at the end of each school day) and partially open when classrooms are in use. The guidance provides that good ventilation can be achieved in classrooms without causing discomfort, particularly during cold weather. The Department has also published guidance regarding how these practical steps measures can be supplemented and enhanced by the use of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) monitors.
Use of PPE
The updated advice from the HPSC to the Department of Education has recommended that face coverings should be worn by staff members where it is not possible to maintain a physical distance of 2 metres from other staff, parents, essential visitors or pupils. The Department has accepted this recommendation. Accordingly, it is now a requirement for face coverings to be worn by staff members where it is not possible to maintain a physical distance of 2 metres from other staff, parents, essential visitors or pupils.
PPE will also need to be used at certain work activities or work areas. These might include roles such as:
- Performing intimate care
- Where a suspected case of COVID-19 is identified while the school is in operation
- Where staff are particularly vulnerable to infection but are not in the list of those categorised as people in very high risk groups, or may be living with people who are in a very high risk category
- Administering first aid
Where staff provide healthcare to children with medical needs in the school environment they will apply standard precautions as per usual practice.
The wearing of face coverings or masks in general is not a substitute for other measures outlined such as physical distancing, hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, adequate ventilation, minimising contacts but they may be used in addition to these protective measures, especially where maintaining physical/social distancing is difficult.
Cloth face coverings act as a barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from travelling into the air and onto other people when the person wearing the face coverings coughs, sneezes, talks or raises their voice. Cloth face coverings are therefore intended to prevent transmission of the virus from the wearer (who may not know that they are infected) to those with whom they come into close contact. In childcare and educational settings, the implementation of mandatory face-covering usage is challenging, as it is known that children will have a lower tolerance and ability to use the face covering properly, and use of face-coverings by teachers and staff caring for very young children may cause undue stress to the children.
It is not recommended that children attending primary school wear face-coverings.
It is now a requirement for face coverings to be worn by staff members where it is not possible to maintain a physical distance of 2 metres from other staff, parents, essential visitors or pupils.
In certain situations the use of clear visors will be considered, for example staff interacting with pupils with hearing difficulties or learning difficulties.
Cloth face coverings should not be worn by any of the following groups:
Any person with difficulty breathing
Any person who is unconscious or incapacitated
Any person who is unable to remove the face-covering without assistance
Any person who has special needs and who may feel upset or very uncomfortable wearing the face covering, for example persons with intellectual or developmental disabilities, mental health conditions, sensory concerns or tactile sensitivity.
Additional disposable face covering will be available for staff in case a back-up face covering is needed during the day. Whilst staff may wish to utilise their own face covering on a day-to-day basis, schools will have available a stock of additional disposable or multi-use face coverings, or if appropriate face visors, available for staff in case a back-up face covering is needed throughout the day or where required on an ongoing basis.
Medical Grade Masks
Scoil Íde will provide medical grade masks in the KN95/EN14683 category to all SNAs and those staff by necessity that need to be in close and continued proximity with pupils with intimate care needs.
Wearing a face covering or mask does not negate the need to stay at home if symptomatic.
The use of disposable gloves in the school by pupils or staff is not generally appropriate but may be necessary for cleaning, intimate care settings and when administering first aid..
Aprons will be provided / available in certain circumstances including for intimate care needs or for staff assigned to cleaning an area where a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 was present.
The caretaker will clean common touch areas, all toilets, both staff rooms and hall furniture each day. He will also empty bins every day.
School cleaning will commence from 4pm each day with our existing cleaners. An additional cleaner has been hired with responsibility for cleaning/sanitising desks and chairs. Additional cleaning hours per week has been added to the cleaning schedule. DES Cleaning Guidance has been issued to cleaners. Cleaning rosters will be signed by cleaning staff each day.
A ULV fogger has been hired by the school for use.
All classroom doors, where practical, to be left open at drop off and collection times, to minimise touching of common areas. Chains have been attached to the doors to hold them open safely.
Perspex screens will be on each teachers’ desk and at the office. Additional screens have been purchased for SET settings.
Disinfectant wipes have been purchased as noted previously. A packet will be left beside the photocopiers for staff members to wipe down the photocopier after use.
A disinfectant spray, Brill Blue, has been purchased for use for cleaning desks/chairs daily. This is a spray that disinfects surfaces but does not need to be wiped. This will significantly reduce the time that it will take to disinfect surfaces.
Here are the details:
Brill Blue is a cleaner and sanitiser. As the product is PH neutral it is safe to use on all surfaces and it is safe to use around sensitive skin, asthma sufferers or people sensitive to strong chemicals. Brill Blue can be sprayed onto surfaces without needing to be rinsed off. It will provide an exceptionally high rate of antibacterial action killing far above the usual 99.9% antibacterial products. It is effective against CoronaVirus, E Coli, MRSA and the NoroVirus among many other bacteria, fungi, and viruses.
Dealing with Suspected Cases of Covid-19 Procedure
School staff will be informed of the HSE COVID-19 tracker app which assists Public Health for contract tracing purposes both in and out of the school setting.
A nominated member of the school management team (Principal / Deputy Principal) will be responsible for ensuring that all aspects of the protocol to deal with suspected cases have been adhered to.
If a pupil becomes unwell and is displaying COVID-19 symptoms outlined earlier in this Response Plan then the following will occur
- Temperature is taken
- If a pupil becomes unwell in the classroom, the mainstream class teacher informs the Principal/ Deputy Principal.
- Mask is given to the child.
- Principal/ Deputy Principal/ escorts child to isolation area.
- Secretary telephones the child's parents.
- Facilitate the person presenting with symptoms remaining in isolation if they cannot immediately go home.
- The individual should avoid touching people, surfaces, and objects. Advice should be given to the person presenting with symptoms to cover their mouth and nose with the disposable tissue provided when they cough or sneeze and put the tissue in the waste bag provided
- If the person is well enough to go home, arrange for them to be transported home by a family member, as soon as possible and advise them to inform their G. P. by phone of their symptoms. Public transport of any kind should not be used.
- If they are too unwell to go home or advice is required, contact 999 or 112 and inform them that the sick person is a COVID-19 suspect.
- Principal / Deputy Principal remains with child until parent arrives. Adults remain outside the door.
- Offer water to the child and ensure the window and adjacent doors remain open to allow ventilation and for supervision/insurance purposes.
- Carry out an assessment of the incident which will form part of determining follow-up actions and recovery.
- Arrange for appropriate cleaning of the isolation area and work areas involved.
The HSE will inform any staff/parents who have come into close contact with a diagnosed case via the contact tracing process. The HSE will contact all relevant persons where a diagnosis of COVID-19 is made. The instructions of the HSE should be followed and confidentiality is always essential. Before a pupil can return to school, parents will have to declare in writing that his/her child is free of COVID-19 symptoms.
Procedure if staff member becomes unwell and is displaying COVID-19 symptoms listed
- The staff member contacts the Principal or Deputy Principal for assistance.
- All adults put on a mask and gloves.
- His/her temperature will be taken
- If the patient is a mainstream teacher, the relevant SET Teacher will continue teaching his/her class.
- Staff member will be escorted to the isolation area.
- If the staff member presenting with symptoms is well enough to drive home, he/she may do so. Responsibility rests with the unwell staff member to make this decision.
- If the person is not well enough to drive home, arrange for him/her to be transported home by a family member, as soon as possible and advise them to inform their G.P. by phone of their symptoms. Public transport of any kind should not be used.
- Remain with an unwell staff member until a person nominated by the patient arrives to bring the patient home always observing proper social distance.
- If they become too unwell or advice is required, 999 or 112 will be contacted and informed that the sick person is a COVID-19 suspect.
- Offer water to staff member and ensure the window and door is open to allow ventilation.
- Carry out an assessment of the incident which will form part of determining follow up actions and recovery.
- Arrange for appropriate cleaning of the isolation area and work areas involved.
The HSE will inform any staff/parents who have come into close contact with a diagnosed case via the contact tracing process. The HSE will contact all relevant persons where a diagnosis of COVID-19 is made. The instructions of the HSE should be followed and confidentiality is always essential. Before returning to work, the staff member will have to self-declare in writing that he/she is free of COVID-19 symptoms.
Impact of COVID-19 on certain school activities
Choir practices/performances and music practices/performances involving wind instruments may pose a higher level of risk and special consideration should be given to how they are held ensuring that the room is well-ventilated and the distance between performers is maintained.
Sport Activities Schools should refer to the HPSC guidance on Return to Sport.
All toys should be cleaned on a regular basis for example weekly. This will remove dust and dirt that can harbour germs.
Toys that are visibly dirty or contaminated with blood or bodily fluids will be taken out of use immediately for cleaning or disposal.
When purchasing toys staff have chosen ones that are easy to clean and disinfect (when necessary).
All play equipment will be checked for signs of damage for example breaks or cracks. If they cannot be repaired or cleaned they will be discarded.
Clean toys and equipment will be stored in a clean container or clean cupboard. The manufacturer’s instructions should always be followed.
At this time soft modelling materials and play dough where used will be for individual use only.
Cleaning Procedure for Toys
Wash the toy in warm soapy water, using a brush to get into crevices.
Rinse the toy in clean water.
Thoroughly dry the toy.
Some hard plastic toys may be suitable for cleaning in the dishwasher.
Toys that cannot be immersed in water that is electronic or wind up will be wiped with a damp cloth and dried.
In some situations toys/equipment may need to be disinfected following cleaning for example: toys/equipment that pupils place in their mouths. Toys/equipment that have been soiled with blood or body fluids or toys where a case of COVID-19 has been identified.
If disinfection is required: A chlorine releasing disinfectant will be used diluted to a concentration of 1,000ppm available chlorine. The item will be rinsed and dried thoroughly.
Where possible pupils should be encouraged to have their own individual art and equipment supplies.
Electronics – Shared electronic devices such as tablets, touch screens, keyboards will be cleaned between use and consideration will be given to the use of wipeable covers for electronics to facilitate cleaning.
– To the greatest extent possible, instruments should not be shared between pupils and if sharing is required, the instruments should be cleaned between uses.
Shared Sports Equipment
– we will minimise equipment sharing and clean shared equipment between uses by different people
Hygiene and Cleaning in Schools
The Department of Education has provided additional funding to schools to support the enhanced cleaning required to minimise the risks of COVID-19.
The specific advice in relation to school cleaning is set out in the HPSC advice and is covered in the induction training.
Scoil Íde will be cleaned at least once per day.
Additional cleaning will be focused on frequently touched surfaces – door handles, handrails, chairs/arm rests, communal eating areas, sink and toilet facilities.
All staff will have access to cleaning products and will be required to maintain cleanliness of their own work area.
Under no circumstances should these cleaning materials be removed from the building.
Staff will thoroughly clean and disinfect their work area before and after use each day.
There will be regular collection of used waste disposal bags from offices and other areas within the school facility.
Staff must use and clean their own equipment and utensils (cup, cutlery, plate etc.)
Cleaning/Disinfecting rooms where a pupil/staff member with suspected COVID-19 was present
The room will be cleaned as soon as practicably possible.
Once the room is vacated the room will not be reused until the room has been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected and all surfaces are dry.
The Person assigned to cleaning will avoid touching their face while they are cleaning and will wear household gloves and a plastic apron.
Special attention will be paid to frequently touched surfaces, the back of chairs, couches, door handles and any surfaces that are visibly soiled with body fluids. Once the room has been cleaned and disinfected and all surfaces are dry, the room can be reused.
If a pupil or staff diagnosed with COVID-19 spent time in a communal area like a canteen, play area or if they used the toilet or bathroom facilities, then the areas will be cleaned with household detergent followed by a disinfectant (as outlined in the HPSC interim health advice) as soon as is practically possible.
Dealing with a Suspected Case of COVID-19
Staff or pupils should not attend school if displaying any symptoms of COVID-19. The following outlines how a school should deal with a suspected case that may arise in a school setting.
- Designated isolation areas have been identified within the school building. The possibility of having more than one person displaying signs of COVID-19 has been considered and a contingency plan for dealing with additional cases put in place.
- The designated isolation area is behind a closed door and away from other staff and pupils.
- If a staff member/pupil displays symptoms of COVID-19 while at school the following are the procedures to be implemented:
- If the person with the suspected case is a pupil, the parents/guardians should be contacted immediately;
- Isolate the person and have a procedure in place to accompany the individual to the designated isolation area via the isolation route, keeping at least 2m away from the symptomatic person and also making sure that others maintain a distance of at least 2m from the symptomatic person at all times;
- The isolation area does not have to be a room but if it is not a room it should be 2m away from others in the room;
- If it is not possible to maintain a distance of 2m, a staff member caring for a pupil should wear a face covering or mask. Gloves should not be used as the virus does not pass through skin;
- Provide a mask for the person presenting with symptoms. He/she should wear the mask if in a common area with other people or while exiting the premises;
- Assess whether the individual who is displaying symptoms can immediately be directed to go home/be brought home by parents who will call their doctor and continue self-isolation at home;
- Facilitate the person presenting with symptoms remaining in isolation if they cannot immediately go home and facilitate them calling their doctor. The individual should avoid touching people, surfaces and objects. Advice should be given to the person presenting with symptoms to cover their mouth and nose with the disposable tissue provided when they cough or sneeze and put the tissue in the waste bag provided;
- If the person is well enough to go home, arrange for them to be transported home by a family member, as soon as possible and advise them to inform their general practitioner by phone of their symptoms. Public transport of any kind should not be used;
- If they are too unwell to go home or advice is required, contact 999 or 112 and inform them that the sick person is a Covid-19 suspect;
- Carry out an assessment of the incident which will form part of determining follow-up actions and recovery;
- Arrange for appropriate cleaning of the isolation area and work areas involved
The HSE will inform any staff/parents who have come into close contact with a diagnosed case via the contact tracing process. The HSE will contact all relevant persons where a diagnosis of COVID-19 is made. The instructions of the HSE should be followed and staff and pupil confidentiality is essential at all times. School staff should be encouraged to download the HSE COVID-19 tracker app to assist Public Health for contract tracing purposes. Both in and out of the school setting
Isolation area for a suspected case
Two isolation areas have been created. These are located in the main school building and another outside of the school hall. Chairs, tissues, hand sanitiser, disinfectant wipes, gloves, masks, waste bags, brown paper bags and a bin along with some wipeable reading material will be placed there and if the suspected case is a child, he/she will be supervised by the Principal/ Deputy Principal/ Health and Safety Officer. Nobody else may enter this area while a child is awaiting collection. It will be sanitised after the person leaves. Parents should contact GP and follow GP instructions. Contact must be made with the school office thereafter providing us with an update on the status of the child’s health before they can return to school.
Special Educational Needs
Additional considerations for those with Special Educational Needs
For children with special educational needs (SEN) maintaining physical distancing in many instances will not be practical or appropriate to implement. The focus will therefore be on emphasising that parents/guardians have a heightened awareness of signs, symptoms or changes in baseline which suggests illness/COVID-19 infection and where symptoms are present children will not attend school. Similarly staff will be aware of their responsibility not to attend work if they develop signs or symptoms of respiratory illness.
Children who are unable to wash their hands by themselves will be assisted to clean their hands using soap and water or a hand sanitiser (if their hands are visibly clean) as outlined previously.
Some children may have care needs (physical or behavioural) which requires the use of aids and appliances and/or medical equipment for example toileting aids, moving and handling equipment, respiratory equipment. Where cleaning of aids and appliances is carried out in the school it is recommended that a cleaning schedule is provided, detailing when and how the equipment is cleaned and the cleaning products to be used in accordance with the manufacturers’ instructions.
Staff have a statutory obligation to take reasonable care for their own health and safety and that of their colleagues and other parties. The cooperation and assistance of all staff is essential to reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19 and to protect health and safety as far as possible within the school. All staff have a key role to play. In this regard and in order to facilitate a safe return to work, these duties include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Adhere to the School COVID-19 Response Plan and the control measures outlined.
- Complete the RTW form before they return to work.
- Must inform the principal if there are any other circumstances relating to COVID19, not included in the form, which may need to be disclosed to facilitate their safe return to the workplace.
- New staff must complete COVID-19 Induction Training and any other training required prior to their return to school.
- Must be aware of, and adhere to, good hygiene and respiratory etiquette practices. Coordinate and work with their colleagues to ensure that physical distancing is maintained.
- Make themselves aware of the symptoms of COVID-19 and monitor their own wellbeing.
- Self-isolate at home and contact their GP promptly for further advice if they display any symptoms of COVID-19.
- Not return to or attend school if they have symptoms of COVID-19 under any circumstances.
- Follow the HSE guidance if they are identified as a close contact.
- If they have travelled outside of Ireland; in such instances staff are advised to consult and follow latest Government advice in relation to foreign travel. If they develop any symptoms of COVID-19 whilst within the school facility, they should adhere to the procedure outlined above.
- Keep informed of the updated advice of the public health authorities and comply with the same.
- Cooperate with any public health personnel and their school for contact tracing purposes and follow any public health advice given in the event of a case or outbreak in their school
- Undergo any COVID-19 testing that may be required as part of mass or serial testing as advised by Public Health
COVID-19 related Absence Management
The management of a COVID-19 related absence will be managed in line with agreed procedures with the Department of Education.
Employee Assistance and Wellbeing Programme
The Department recognises the need for school staff wellbeing and collective selfcare. Support for school staff wellbeing will be provided by Department Support Services including the PDST and CSL, as well as by the HSE’s Health Promotion Team. An Occupational Health Strategy is in place as a supportive resource for individual staff members in schools. The aim of the Occupational Health Strategy is to promote the health and wellbeing of employees in the workplace, with a strong focus on prevention. The Occupational Health Strategy comprises the Employee Assistance Service and the Occupational Health Service. The Employee Assistance Service (EAS) is provided by Spectrum.Life under the logo of ‘Wellbeing Together: Folláinne Le Chéile’.
The EAS is a self-referral service where employees have access to a dedicated free-phone confidential helpline 1800 411 057 available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year providing advice on a range of issues such as wellbeing, legal, financial, mediation, management support etc. The service is also available via SMS, WhatsApp, e-mail, live chat and call back request. All points of contact for the service are qualified, accredited and experienced mental health professionals.
Where required, short-term counselling is available to employees and their families (over the age of 18 years and living at home). The EAS also provides advice and support to managers and delivers interventions to help them deal with health and wellbeing issues in the workplace.
A bespoke wellbeing portal and app is available which offers access to podcasts, blogs, live chats and videos on topics around wellbeing and mental health, family life, exercise and nutrition. E-Learning programmes across mental health, sleep and a range of wellbeing topics are also available. In addition online cognitive behavioural therapy is provided. As part of the services provided by Spectrum.Life a Mental Health Promotion Manager is available to develop and deliver evidence based mental health and wellbeing initiatives to reduce stigma and improve mental health literacy and to increase engagement with the service. Spectrum.Life also provides a series of webinars and presentations to promote wellbeing in schools.
Substitution and EPV days
Circular 45/2020 covers the system for booking substitutes. All staff are asked to phone the school Principal as per normal procedures as soon as possible to allow for as much time to book a substitute as possible. As is always the case, the Principal/Deputy Principal works to ensure substitutes are employed. When a substitute cannot be sought as per the panel and normal school procedures, support teachers will be allocated to cover the class. Each support teacher will be allocated to cover classes in line with the classes with which they are allocated.
All teachers are asked to leave spare packs of work in their room as dividing classes is no longer an option. Substitutes will be asked to fill out the Return-to-Work Form and Contact Tracing Form. They will be provided with the required PPE.
They will be asked to read this full document in advance of coming to the school. If they cannot be booked until close to the school start time, they will be asked to assign the class some work in order to read this document in full.
Most days that may not have been covered by substitution in the past will be covered for the 2020/21 school year. The first EPV day that a teacher uses may be covered by a substitute if one can be booked. The other days may only be taken if they are not disruptive to the running of the school. Any unused EPV days from school year 2020-2021 can be carried over to the current school year 2021-2022
General information relating to the school year
Drop off and Collection Plan
From September 1st 2021
Gates to the school will open for 1st-6th class pupils from 8.40am
Gates to the school will open for Infant pupils from 8.45am.
Instruction begins at 9am.
No child may enter the school prior to these times. Classroom doors will open no earlier than 8.40am (1st-6th) and 8.45am (Infants).
A staff member will be present at the gate to instruct pupils as to when to enter and will remind them to sanitise their hands.
- Pupils from the Senior Building may enter or exit the school via Gate D or Gate E.
- Pupils from Room 15 (4th Class) may enter or exit the school via Gate C or Gate E.
- 1st, 2nd and 4th class pupils will be dismissed from their classes at 14.40.
- Junior Infant classes enter the school via Gate A.
Junior Infant classes exit the school via Gate E ( on the Mill Road side of the school) at 13.45. Teachers will escort their classes to Gate E at this time.
- Senior Infant classes enter or exit the school via Gate A. Senior Infant classes will be escorted by their teacher to Gate A for collection by adults at 13.45.
- 1st class may enter and exit the school via Gate E
- 2nd classes may enter and exit the school at Gate C
- 3rd classes may enter and exit the school at Gate B
Pupils only should enter the school through their designated gate and follow the footsteps painted on the ground to their class. The route given is the most direct. Staff members will be present at gates and around the school to supervise and ensure that pupils get to their rooms safely. Children should sanitise their hands at the gate and make their way to their class and take their seat. There will be hand sanitiser available in every classroom.
Early collection / late arrival
If a pupil must be collected early or dropped to school late, the parent or guardian should call the secretary in advance of collection. Children will be escorted to their designated gate/ or collected by a member of staff.
Code of Behaviour
Pupils who breach rules/procedures detailed in this response plan will be dealt with in accordance with the school Code of Behaviour. Coughing/sneezing/spitting deliberately will be a breach of the code of behaviour.
Special Education Teaching
When using their own rooms, Special Education Teachers will maintain as much distance as possible. They will be provided with a screen to use if needed. They will work with smaller groups to facilitate distancing. SET will spray disinfectant on the desks and chairs after each child leaves. They will be timetabled to work with a limited number of classes. All SET should sanitise between each class and child/group of children taught. Face masks/visors to be worn. When children are picked up from their room, the children must sanitise their hand and they must sanitise again before leaving the room.
Literacy Lift-Off / Supported Literacy Hour
A timetable for LLO and Supported Literacy has been developed so that SETs will work with a limited number of classes (maximum 2) within their own bubble.
These will not be in place when we return to school in September 2021. This will be reviewed.
These will return on a phased basis after risk assessment and subject to guidelines from various departments.
Principal/Deputy Principal Duties
The Principal, as leader and day-to-day manager of the school and Deputy Principal must be able to speak with each staff member and visit each class as necessary to fulfil his/her duties. Like with other staff, s/he will sanitise before and after entering each room, wear a face covering and maintain social distance. As s/he will therefore be in contact with all staff members and all class groups, as well as professional visitors and parents/ guardians by appointment, s/he will keep meetings with individuals as short as possible, while fulfilling duties and responsibilities.
To minimise contact while fulfilling duties, staff are not permitted into the school office and visitors will be minimised and must wait outside until invited in. Staff are asked to email/call the secretary with requests.
All office staff will only use their own phone and PC.
Parents must ensure children come with lunches etc. to prevent adults coming to school during the day. No sharing of lunches/ drinks among children. Please ensure that your child can open/close his/her own lunchbox and that they are washed daily.
Covering schoolbooks/copies in plastic is recommended. Books/copies may be sent home at the discretion of the teacher. Where practical, each child must use their own books. Shared books loaned by the school should be sanitised after each session. Hand hygiene should be performed after using a shared item.
A set of stationary to be kept in school (as per booklist). This will ensure there is no borrowing pencils, colours etc. If a teacher must lend a school item to a child, the teacher will wipe it with disinfectant wipes before and after use. Pupils should have a separate set of stationery at home for homework.
Coats should be left on the pupil’s chair. Parents or guardians should consider sending in a fleece with the children for use on colder days.
Online platforms have been set up and used for homework purposes. Books and copies may now be sent home for homework purposes at the discretion of the teacher. Teachers may wish to send homework for the week and leave in a box for the duration of the weekend before correcting. If device access is an issue, please let the school know.
The normal School Uniform Policy applies. We ask that children wear their uniform/tracksuit to school only and parents wash them regularly.
This will be used to facilitate PE lessons for all classes. There will also be a Basketball Court timetable drawn up in order for pupils to have two PE lessons per week. PE Equipment may now be used. Hand hygiene should be practised before and after PE lessons where equipment is used and equipment sanitised after use by each bubble.
The focus should be on Fundamental Movement Skills. Games (e.g. hurling, football, basketball etc.) should not be played: the teaching focus should be on skills development. This will be reviewed.
We will refer to the HPSC guidance on Return to Sport. Link to return to sport protocols is found here.
These will not be held. This will be reviewed.
These will be arranged and will be subject to guidelines at the scheduled time of meetings
Classes may visit go on Field trips in the locality on foot and follow appropriate safety measures
All deliveries must be left at the main reception (Gate B) or at the back of the school (Gate E). Deliveries must be planned with the caretaker. Delivery personnel may not enter the building.
Staff should follow curriculum guidance which is available on www.education.ie
If a child has a medical condition and has been advised not to return to school, the support teacher assigned to that class for Literacy and Numeracy will be asked to work with the class teacher in providing learning activities for home.
Isolating Pupils (close contacts of a confirmed case)
If a child has been advised to stay at home as they are isolating yet would otherwise be well enough to attend school, please contact the class teacher.
If the school should close again, Junior Infants to Third class will use Seesaw. Fourth to Sixth class will use Google Classroom. Zoom will be used for video calls.
Foot pedal waste bins have been purchased. The usual recycling bins will be used. Food waste should be brought home in pupil’s lunch boxes as usual.
Money will be collected via e payments as usual.
Fundraising activities are postponed until further notice. The Monster Raffle was postponed due to the school closure. We will inform you of how this will be worked out in due course.
Children will not be sent around the school on messages. Teachers will use the Aladdin noticeboard/email account for messages.
Only the Principal should use the intercom. It should be cleaned before being used by anyone else.
The school will be unavailable for rental.
Implementation and Review
The whole school community is responsible for playing their part in implementing this plan. The Board of Management will meet at the end of September to review this plan.
This policy was updated on August 25th and will be reviewed on 30th September 2021.
Signed: Maureen Hobbins Date: 25/08/21
Signed: Ray D’Arcy Date: 25/08/21
Appendix 2 - Return to Work Form
This Return to Work Form must be completed by school staff in advance of returning to the workplace. If the answer is Yes to any of the below questions, you are advised to seek medical advice before returning to the workplace.
Name: ________________________ Name of School: ________________________
Name of Principal: ________________________
1. Do you have symptoms of cough, fever, high temperature (38 degrees C or above), difficulty breathing, loss or change in your sense of smell or taste now or in the past 14 days?
2. Have you been diagnosed with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 infection in the last 14 days?
3. Are you awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test?
4. In the past 14 days, have you been in contact with a person who is a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19?
5. Have you been advised to self-isolate at this time?
6. Have you been advised to restrict your movements at this time?
7. Have you been categorised as ‘Very High Risk’ or ‘High Risk’ by the Occupational Health Service (OHS)
Please provide details below of any other circumstances relating to COVID-19, not included in the above, which may need to be considered to allow your safe return to work e.g. returning from travel abroad.
* If your situation changes after you complete and submit this Return to Work Form, please inform your employer.
** Further information on people at very high risk (extremely vulnerable) or high risk from COVID-19 can be found at link: https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/people-at-higher-risk.html.
*** Details of current arrangements for travel overseas can be found set out at https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/77952-government-advice-on-international-travel/ Please note: The school is collecting this sensitive personal data for the purposes of maintaining safety within the workplace in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The legal basis for collecting this data is based on vital public health interests and maintaining occupational health and this data will be held securely in line with our retention policy
Contact Tracing Log
Scoil Íde, Corbally, Limerick
Name of visitor
Date of visit
Time of entry:
Time of exit:
Company name (if applicable):
Contact details of visitor
Reason for visit
Was the visit pre-arranged with the Principal?
Name of person visited
Length of time spent with each person